Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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HESSE, Grand Duchy of, a state forming part of the German empire, traversed by the Rhine and the Maine, having as capital Darmstadt and as principal city the federal fortress of Mayence. It has an area of 7,676 square kilometres, with a population of 852,842 at the end of 1871; of these, 69 per cent. are Protestants, 28 per cent. Catholics, and 3 per cent. Israelites. The population numbered: in 1840, 811,503; in 1852, 854,314; in 1861, 836,808.


—The constitution of Hesse dates from Dec. 7, 1820, but it has been modified more or less since then. According to this constitution the grand duke attains his majority at the age of eighteen. His civil list is 581,000 (or, according to another authority, 576,000) florins, and he governs with the assistance of estates which are divided into two chambers. The first (law of Nov. 8, 1872) includes princes of the blood, nobles formerly sovereigns, Baron Riedesel, the bishop of Mayence (or his representative), and a Protestant ecclesiastic appointed for life by the grand duke and bearing the title of prelate, the chancellor of the university of Giessen, two members of the territorial nobility elected for six years by their peers; finally, members, of which the maximum number shall be twelve, chosen by the grand duke among the most distinguished citizens. The second chamber, according to the law of 1862, amended by the law of Nov. 8, 1872, is composed of ten deputies of the eight largest cities and forty deputies of the other communes. The law of 1872 suppresses the six representatives of the nobility. The members of this chamber are chosen indirectly, but the deputies to the German Reichstag by direct election.


—Members of the chambers must be twenty-five years of age at least. Deputies are elected for six years, one-half being elected every three years. No definite property qualification is prescribed either for primary electors or for those eligible to office; it is only necessary to be enrolled on the list of tax payers, but secondary electors must pay forty florins ($16.40).


—The country is divided administratively into three provinces, but the chief division is that made by the Rhine. The part of the country situated on the left bank of this river retains the civil legislation of France, the Code Napoleon is still in force there, and until 1848 the jury system was not in existence on the right bank. By degrees, however, the legislation of both parts of the territory is becoming similar, and with the aid of legislation common to Germany uniformity will soon be established. A council of state is intrusted with the usual powers of bodies bearing this title. The communal organization resembles that of France; the government chooses the mayor from among the members of the municipal council, and administrative tutelage is not very rigorous. Town councilors are elected for nine years by all the inhabitants in the enjoyment of their rights; one-third are elected every three years.


—Liberty of conscience is sanctioned by law. The ecclesiastical affairs of the Protestants are administered by the upper consistory of Darmstadt, having under its orders three superintendents, one for each province; under these superintendents are thirty-eight deacons chosen for five years from among 428 pastors. The concordat of 1830 regulates the Catholic worship, the interests of which are managed by the bishop of Mayence. There are 154 Catholic parishes, and seventeen clergymen bear the title of deacon. The Jewish religion has seven rabbis.


—There are about 1,800 primary schools in the grand duchy. Instruction is obligatory (from six to fourteen years of age); there are two normal primary schools, six gymnasia, several special schools, and the university of Giessen.


—In the financial period 1860-62 (three years), the receipts and expenditures were 9,000,000 florins ($3,780,000) annually, figures, which were not much exceeded in the budget of 1872, (if no account be taken of the balances of preceding years or the revenues ceded to the empire). The revenues come chiefly from the domains and forests, nearly 3,000,000 florins; direct taxes, 3,800,000; indirect taxes, 1,500,000; the rest from various sources. In 1821, when the constitution was proclaimed, the receipts were 5,996,510 florins, and the expenditures 5,995,735; direct taxes furnished 2,603,107 florins, and indirect taxes (liquors, salt, timber, and right of navigation), 1,299,903. In 1872 the expenditures of the grand duchy itself amounted to more than 9,500,000 florins, including the contingent paid into the treasury of the empire (a little more than one million). This treasury receives certain revenues in the grand duchy which belong to the German empire. On the other hand, there is nothing to pay for the army, which is maintained at the cost of the empire. The interest of the debt is less than 700,000 florins. The capital of the debt is about 4,000,000 florins, not including the 9,000,000 of railway debt. There are besides 4,000,000 florins in paper money.


—The army forms part of the German army, 11th corps, 25th division, and is subject to the same laws.


—The agriculture of this little country is far advanced. The soil, 3,365,671 morgens in extent, is divided into 1,656,385 morgens of arable land, 446,525 morgens of meadow and pasture land, 38,693 morgens of vineyards, and 1,059,628 morgens of forests; thus we see that but a small part of the soil is unfavorable to cultivation. There are about 40,000 horses, 295,000 horned cattle, 197,000 sheep, 128,000 hogs, and 59,000 goats. The value of cultivated lands is 226,000,000 florins; their products, 45,000,000. The circulating capital is 38,500,000 florins; the value of animals nearly 26,000,000. Industry and commerce are important. The Rhine and the railroads favor the grand duchy in regard to commerce; the Zollverein has been useful to industry, which in 1849 had 4,470 manufacturing establishments, and, in 1857, 113 steam engines. Hesse is a prosperous country, and its inhabitants are considered among the most liberal in Germany.


—The population of Hesse at the last census was 882,349. The revenue for the financial period 1879-82 was estimated at 20,235,247 marks per annumn, and the expenditure at 17,142,497 marks. At the end of 1879 the public debt amounted to 25,382,000 marks, mainly incurred for the construction of state railways.


—BIBLIOGRAPHY. Landau, Beschreibung des Hessengaues, Kassel, 1856; Teuthorn, Ausführliche Geschichte der Hessen, 11 vols, Frankfort, 1777-80; Rommel, Geschichte von Hessen, 10 vols., Gotha, 1820-58; Turckheim, Histoire généalogique de la Maison de Hesse, 3 vols., Strasburg, 1819-20; Diessenbach, Geschichte von Hessen, Darmstadt, 1831; Heber, Geschichte des Grossherzogthums Hessen, Offenburg, 1837; Wippermann, Kurhessen seit dem Freiheitskriege, Kassel, 1850.

M. B.

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